The 15 Saddest Anime Scenes Of All Time

Voting Rules
Vote up the anime scenes that ripped out your heart and stomped on it.

There's nothing like a sad scene to make you emotionally invested in an anime. These emotional moments may also compel you to throw your computer out the window, tears streaming as you yell at the series for making you experience actual feelings.

Naturally, the saddest anime scenes often revolve around the most poignant anime deaths. For example, Maes Hughes's funeral in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is one of those sequences seared into your mind forever. Though loss plays a part in many of these devastating anime scenes, not all of anime's most heart-wrenching moments involve death. When a young abuse victim cries over experiencing kindness for the first time, it's enough to build a lump in your throat.

In some cases, these depressing scenes come from anime with tragic themes in general. In addition to the infamous death scene, Clannad comes chock-full of other somber moments. Other instances involve anime with a rather lighthearted or adventure-oriented tone, making the devastation all the more earth-shattering.

If you thought you would never cry over Pokémon, you should watch the final battle in the first movie one more time. For people who love emotional roller coasters as much as physical ones, these devastating anime scenes will send you on the ride of your life.

Photo: Grave of the Fireflies / Studio Ghibli

  • Korosensei Is Finally Assassinated In 'Assassination Classroom'
    Photo: Lerche

    Although the premise of Assassination Classroom involves a bunch of kids trying to murder their teacher, it's still devastating when he dies.

    The reason they try to kill their teacher, whom they call Korosensei, is because he threatens to destroy the planet in a year unless someone can stop him. In exchange for not obliterating Earth immediately, he demands to instruct Class 3-E of Kunugigaoka Junior High School.

    The former teacher of this class was a woman Korosensei met in the experimental laboratory. She turned him into a deadly time bomb. Korosensei wants to use his remaining time to help these kids believe in their power and inherent worth by training them as assassins.

    His lessons work startlingly well, and by the time the students have to kill Korosensei to save the planet, he already helped each one of them reach their fullest potential. Not one member of Class 3-E wants Korosensei to die, so when his student Nagisa takes responsibility and does the job, the whole class openly sobs. The soaring music and starry visuals underscore the misery of the scene.

    4,532 votes
  • The death of Maes Hughes traumatized practically the entire anime community. If you weren't affected, chances are you didn't watch it. At Hughes's funeral, the surviving loved ones display all their raw, emotional pain. Whether it's Roy Mustang saying he understands the Elrics' reasons for human transmutation, or Elicia, Hughes's young daughter, sobbing as they're covering her daddy in dirt, the funeral is a devastating scene.

    3,845 votes
  • The end of Your Lie in April is as beautiful as it is excruciating. As Kaori Miyazono undergoes a risky surgery, Kousei Arima performs without her at a music competition. When Kaori appears beside him on violin, he knows this means her surgery was unsuccessful. The presence is an apparition.

    Kousei must keep playing, knowing full well one of his closest friends is gone. You will never again listen to Chopin's "Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op. 23" without crying.

    After the heartwrenching final collaboration between Kaori's ghost and Kousei, he receives a letter. It reveals Kaori's untold love for Kousei. On top of the death, there's a deep sense of regret about how the two never connected as they should have.

    2,879 votes
  • Clannad is notoriously one of the saddest anime ever. Arguably the most painful moment happens during the death of Ushio, the young daughter of protagonist Tomoya. As if a child dying in her father's arms weren't heartbreaking enough, the family history behind her death adds additional layers to the sadness cake. 

    Ushio's mother Nagisa dies giving birth to her. Losing his beloved wife drives Tomoya, already not the most emotionally stable person, into a tailspin. He can't function well enough to raise his daughter, so he leaves Ushio with her grandparents while he gets his act together.

    When Tomoya finally decides to come back, Ushio develops the same disease that caused Nagisa to die from the strain of childbirth. She doesn't have long to live. Tomoya tries to fulfill his daughter's last wish: a trip with her father. Unfortunately, Ushio dies before they venture a great distance.

    2,089 votes
  • Any scene involving a child dying automatically qualifies as devastating, but Setsuko’s death takes it to another level. Setsuko and her older brother Seita struggle to survive in post-WWII Japan, but the strain proves too much for the little girl.

    When Seita finally manages to get his hands on food, he tries to feed his sister - but it’s too late. Setsuko dies while he prepares rice for the two of them. When Seita lies down next to his sister's corpse, it’s nearly impossible not to cry.

    1,813 votes
  • Asuma’s death is sad on its own, but it feels particularly heartwrenching to watch his loved ones react to it. The way Shikamaru Nara takes in the news is especially somber. At first, he tries not to show any visible reaction, instead choosing to bottle up his sadness. Knowing the dangers of refusing to mourn, his father, Shikaku, provokes him into expressing his emotions. Shikamaru bursts into tears.

    Shikaku then leaves his son alone to mourn in private, saying, “Let it all out... I’ll pick up the pieces.” What an amazing father! The careful animation, a restrained color scheme, and moving soundtrack add to the pathos of the scene. If you watch knowing what happens to Shikaku later in the anime, you'll feel even worse.

    2,881 votes